Motorcyclists Face Additional Dangers on Roads Under Repair in Virginia
Uneven roads, potholes, and milled lanes can damage cars. If you are riding a motorcycle, roads under repair can be a death sentence. Tragically, a rider in Virginia lost his life in a work zone on Interstate 495.
Construction zones are hazardous and drivers have to slow down and follow the rules. However, in some cases, contractors or highway agencies set up hazardous lane changes or other obstructions and provide insufficient warning.
This was the case in northern Virginia when a motorcyclist lost his life on I-495. His family brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the operators of two road construction projects. The case was recently resolved for $3.17 million, reported Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
The report stated a paving contractor milled three lanes of I-495. The contractor left a two-inch ledge between lanes three and four.
A temporary traffic control contractor blocked off the milled lanes in the night to stop vehicles entering a second work zone beyond the paving project, VLW reported.
The combined changes to I-495 resulted in a hazard for motorists. The lane change forced motorists over the ledge in the middle of the night with insufficient warning.
The motorcyclist was returning home from work at the Pentagon when he was unexpectedly forced to the left into the ledge. His motorcycle tipped over, throwing the rider into the road. Another driver hit and killed the rider on the road.
This was a tragic case caused by the negligence of contractors. There was little warning of the ledge ahead on the road. This kind of feature in a construction zone can cause car and truck accidents and be fatal for motorcyclists.
The wrongful death action brought on behalf of the dead motorcyclist’s wife and infant daughter was resolved in late 2018 during mediation for $3.175 million. The deceased rider’s family was represented by attorneys Peter DePaolis and Julie Heiden of Washington, D.C. and Robert J. Stoney, Chidi I. James, and Peter S. Everett of Fairfax, Virginia.
Liability for Accidents in Work Zones in Virginia
Work zones are extremely hazardous places. When wrecks occur they are usually caused by speeding or reckless drivers. Typically, a claim can be brought against the at-fault driver.
Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers represented a young man who was awarded $2.86 million after he was hit by a drunk driver in a work zone on I-264 in Norfolk. The highway worker lost both of his legs after the crash.
The case in northern Virginia illustrates how a contractor or a highway authority can be held liable for accidents caused on roads under repair in Virginia.
A highway may always be under repair for an authority to be found liable. It could be neglected. We are familiar with cases where drivers have swerved to avoid potholes and caused accidents. A government entity or a contractor may be liable for the following:
- Accidents caused by potholes;
- Shoulder drop-offs;
- Accidents caused by a failure to treat snow and ice;
- A failure to remove hazardous spills from the roadway;
- Sand or gravel left on the road, posing an extreme danger to motorcyclists.
These cases are seldom straightforward. Drivers have a duty to look out for hazards ahead and a highway authority must be aware of the dangers. Local governments are also protected by sovereign immunity in Virginia which can shield them from liability.
Motorcyclists face additional dangers when roads are uneven or unrepaired. While riders must anticipate hazards on the roads ahead, certain conditions are unacceptably dangerous.
If you or a family member has been hurt in a motorcycle accident in Virginia, please call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers today at (757) 231-6443.